How to set up for an Art Show

Brighten Your Life!

Reached the point where you want to show your art?

What do I do and how do I do it?

MJs Cradted Concepts marquee at Village In The Park Leavenworth WA

  • Get an application and fill it out.

    Before you fill this important piece of work out, make sure you have good quality photos of your work. Have at least 10 good shots, depending on how many are required.  If you happen to have a picture of your booth, that would be great too.  A lot of shows will want your tax number, business number or social security numbers as well so make sure you have these on hand as well.

    • You have been accepted….Yaaaay!

      Didn’t that feel good!  It certainly made me feel terrific the first time, but then the questions begin.

      Most shows will give you space sizes, the cost of the sizes, so don’t sweat it too much. 

      • Canopies/Tents

      Smaller shows usually require you to have at least a 10 ft x 10 ft OR 3 m x 3 m white canopy.  If you are just starting out, one will probably do you, but be prepared to go get another one as you grow.   On a budget, you can pick up white ones at your local Costco, hardware shop or go online (watch out for specials on these!)  There is also or Research them all to find which one will suit you.

       Note:  Shows prefer white in a lot of cases, so ensure you read all the requirements.

      Yes get sides for your tents.  Why?  A lot of shows do not pull down overnight and you need to keep your precious goods secure! If it rains, you don’t want everything getting wet.

      Sides can either be Velcro or tie ups…either are good depending on your taste.  Personally I like the Velcro, but at the moment I have tie ups.

      Get 4 sides and a lot of tents or canopies come with the sides.  Make sure you check how much more it will be to get your sides.

      • Weights


      If you are showing outside, wind can be a hazardous factor.

      You can either buy your weights as accessories to your tents or make them.  A lot of people get a large PVC pipe and fill them with quick dry cement and attach hooks in the cement or to the top of the PVC pipe.  There are water bag weights or sand weights, the choice is yours.  Around 25 lbs or 10 kg per corner is recommended.  Some shows might have different requirements.

      Weights for MarqueeWeights attached to Marquee marquee and weights

      • How are you going to display your wares?

      You will need walls to display your pictures/paintings etc.  There are many types and again you will have to research what best suits you.

      Grid WallsMake your own wallsHanging Chains

      Wall Panels for Marquee


      • Tables/Tablecloths

      You may need a few tables.  Decide what you are going to display on your tables.  You may have cards or prints of your work. Make sure you have enough room to move around your booth or stall.

      • What do you want to display?

      Do you have printed cards?  Do you have prints of your work in different sizes.  Do you have small sized paintings?  Do you require a work area for yourself eg. Easel to paint?

      Tablecloths that reach to the floor/ground and what color?

      HINT: Tablecloths can hide extra work and take away a messy situation, so use either fitted tablecloths or those that hide all your boxes.

      • Boxes

      You will need to put your prints of different sizes into boxes or baskets

      Display BoxesDisplay Boxes

      There are all sorts of ideas you can buy or make yourself.

      • Signage/Lighting

      Make sure you read the requirements for your sign that displays who you are and what you do.  You can make one, or paint one, or get a professional to do it for you.  Display it in a prominent position, but make sure of the guidelines of the show you are attending.  A lot of shows need you to display your sign inside your stall, not on the outside.

      Lights may be required and often are.  A huge choice of lights are available, many of which are at your local hardware store.  Make sure extension cords and power panels are all up to date and no exposed wires. Try to ensure you don’t create a huge eyesore when running your extension cords for lighting.

      • You are Ready to Go

      Make sure all your STUFF fits into your car, or truck (weather-proof). If you have a trailer, make sure you can drive into the area with it, or have to leave it parked somewhere and then transport all your gear.  That can be painful!  Get a trolley if you have to.

      Well folks, I hope this helps you set up for your first outdoor art show.

      Good Luck

      Till next time, cheers







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